As fully documented on DirtySouthSoccer.com, Atlanta United’s 2019 campaign was a series of ups and downs--and a ton of change. The left back and wingback roles were a revolving door with frequent injuries and shifting responsibilities. From a right wingback in a 3-4-3, to Atlanta United 2, to a solid playoff performance at left back in a 4-3-3, Mikey Ambrose may be the perfect personification of this crazy season.
Position: RWB (Seriously?) and LB
Games played: 4 appearances, 3 starts
What went right this season?
In the MLS Cup Quarterfinal against Philadelphia, we saw peak Mikey Ambrose. He was solid in supporting the attack and played well defensively on our way to a clean sheet against a dangerous Union attack. He also did this:
Tekkers! (but please Mikey, listen to Parky)
In 2019, Atlanta United got a new coach, a new philosophy, Greg Garza (former starting LB) left, and had season ending injuries to George Bello and Brek Shea (the expected rotation at left back). Most teams would falter with that level of turnover. Mikey Ambrose stabilized the left back position when Frank de Boer chose the 4-3-3 formation against Philadelphia in the playoffs and performed well in a must-win game.
What does he need to improve on?
In many games, Ambrose has not been a contributor when moving forward in attack from the LB position. When you consider what Garza was able to offer going forward last season, it leaves a bit to be desired with Ambrose supporting the attack. Because so much of the season played with three in the back, Ambrose was not able to consistently play in the LB role and gain experience with the first team. However, he developed his game during his time at ATL UTD 2 and showed fruit of his growth in that critical MLS Cup quarterfinal. It remains to be seen if his performance in the Philadelphia game is a new standard or an anomaly.
What role will he play in 2020?
Sadly, Ambrose announced in a post on social media that he would not be part of Atlanta United in 2020. We wish him the best in his future endeavors!
Overall Player Grade: C